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How to order drinks in Sarawak coffeeshops?

Ordering drinks in foreign countries can be confusing. Even here in Malaysia, how to order drinks might even be different depending which state are you in.

Adding on the difficulties to order drinks, most Sarawak coffeeshops and food courts do not even have proper menus.

So here is a quick guide on how to order drinks in Sarawak coffeeshops.

How to order your drinks at Sarawak coffeeshops?

If you want to order coffee, take note that you have to say “kopi” or “Nescafe”. “Kopi” usually refers to drinks made with local coffee brands like Kopi Cap Kapal Api or Anggerek, while Nescafe is a Nestle brand of coffee. A cup of Nescafe costs slightly more than a kopi.

So here’s a basic list of what you can order at almost any coffeeshop, ‘kopitiam’ or ‘kedai kopi’ in Sarawak:

Kopi ‘O’ Kosong – ‘Kosong’ means ’empty’ in Malay. This is the Malaysian version of Americano or Long Black since it is just a hot cup of black coffee.
Kopi ‘O’ – Hot black coffee with sugar
Kopi ‘O’ Peng – Anything with the word ‘peng’ means ‘iced’. A Kopi ‘O’ Peng is iced black coffee with sugar.
Kopi – Malaysians love their condensed milk. A cup of kopi is coffee with condensed milk.
Kopi Peng – This is basically iced coffee with condensed milk.
Kopi ‘C’– Malaysians apparently love their alphabet. So a drink with the letter‘C’ means ‘with evaporated milk’. A cup of Kopi ‘C’ is coffee with added sugar and evaporated milk.
Kopi ‘C’ Kosong – If you want a kopi ‘C’ without the sugar, then it is a Kopi ‘C’ Kosong.
Kopi ‘C’ Peng – A glass of iced Kopi ‘C’.
Kopi ‘C’ Peng Kosong – The iced version of Kopi ‘C’ Kosong.
Kopi ‘O’ Peng Kosong – A glass of iced black coffee with no sugar, condensed milk or evaporated milk. An iced Americano, in other words.
Neslo –  Here is a Malaysian version of mocha. It is a mixture of Nescafe coffee and the chocolate and malt powder drink, Milo.

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When you’re asking for tea and all its variants, just replace the word ‘kopi’ with ‘teh’ which means tea in Malay. The same rule applies to Malaysia’s favourite chocolate and malt drink, Milo.

If you are in Sabah, change the word ‘Peng’ to ‘Ping’ and you are good to go.

Good luck!

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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